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Acta Psychol (Amst). 2011 Jan;136(1):20-34. doi: 10.1016/j.actpsy.2010.09.006. Epub 2010 Oct 16.

Dissecting the clock: understanding the mechanisms of timing across tasks and temporal intervals.

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University of Michigan, Department of Psychology, Ann Arbor, 48109-1109, USA.


Currently, it is unclear what model of timing best describes temporal processing across millisecond and second timescales in tasks with different response requirements. In the present set of experiments, we assessed whether the popular dedicated scalar model of timing accounts for performance across a restricted timescale surrounding the 1-second duration for different tasks. The first two experiments evaluate whether temporal variability scales proportionally with the timed duration within temporal reproduction. The third experiment compares timing across millisecond and second timescales using temporal reproduction and discrimination tasks designed with parallel structures. The data exhibit violations of the assumptions of a single scalar timekeeper across millisecond and second timescales within temporal reproduction; these violations are less apparent for temporal discrimination. The finding of differences across tasks suggests that task demands influence the mechanisms that are engaged for keeping time.

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